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Literacy and progress go hand in hand

  • Published at 06:03 pm September 8th, 2019
Kids reading school
Photo: REUTERS

Education is every person’s right and it must be provided in an inclusive manner

While Bangladesh has done a terrific job in meeting UNGA’s Sustainable Development Goals, when it comes to education, we have lagged behind. 

That is not to say we have not improved. Literacy rates have continued to rise since the current government has come to power, rising by almost 20 percentage points.

But the fact remains that, even now, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, literacy rates stand at a little under 74% for people above the age of 15, which means a significant portion of the adult population is unable to read and write. 

It must also be remembered that these statistics need to be taken with a grain of salt, as questions still remain regarding the methodology of measuring literacy and the scope of the survey taken, though that should not wean us off the fact that literacy, at the end of the day, is instrumental. 

Also, while literacy should in no way be equated with the quality of education itself, there is no doubt that these two are inherently intertwined as we have, for the longest time, emphasized on educational reform, with focus on the quality of education being provided and not merely the number of people being enrolled in schools.

And even in this regard, Bangladesh has made great strides, with our education system covering more and more ground gradually.

However, it is when it comes to adult literacy that we have managed to lose focus, and the statistics, however contentious, betray that fact. 

Of course we need to focus on the education of our children, but we cannot ignore the fact that a significant portion of our adult population remains illiterate, and we would do well to address this problem post-haste.

When a person learns how to read and write, it not only improves their confidence, but increases productivity, which in turn allows him to contribute to the nation’s overall development.

Education is every person’s right and it must be provided in an inclusive manner -- that is the only way forward on the path towards true progress. 

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